BY A STRONG DESIRE TO "REDUCE INTERGROUP PREJUDICE AND IMPROVE INTERGROUP
RELATIONS", ALLAN AND JOAN BILDNER, FOUNDERS OF THE BILDNER FAMILY
FOUNDATION, WERE INSPIRED TO HELP NEW JERSEY COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
REALIZE THEIR DIVERSITY GOALS. IN APRIL, EIGHT NEW JERSEY INSTITUTIONS
WERE AWARDED $225,000 OVER A THREE-YEAR PERIOD TO TRANSFORM THEIR
INSTITUTIONS USING DIVERSITY AS A CATALYST.
The idea for
a comprehensive statewide New Jersey campus diversity initiative
had been a grantmaking interest for the Bildners for several years.
Last year, the Bildners worked with AAC&U and The Philanthropic
Initiative, a non-profit consulting firm, to launch a three-year
initiative for colleges and universities. By sponsoring this project,
the Bildners hoped to create a statewide network of institutions
committed to using diversity as a tool to create systemic change
on their campuses.
“We are delighted
AAC&U was chosen to help manage this statewide project,” said AAC&U
Vice President Caryn McTighe Musil. “The strategy to ultimately
influence an entire state through a network of schools with strong
diversity programs is a solid one. It builds on the decade of work
by Paula Rothenberg’s New Jersey Project and can be a model for
other states to adopt.”
began in the fall of 2001 with a call for proposals inviting all
New Jersey institutions to apply for the proposed diversity initiative.
The foundation’s advisory board selected eight institutions: Bloomfield
College, Bergen Community College, County College of Morris, Princeton
University, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Rowan University,
Rutgers University, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry
of New Jersey. Each of the institutions demonstrated a strong commitment
to diversity and proposed a solid plan for how the Bildner grant
initiative would further their institutional diversity priorities.
notification of their awards, institutions assembled campus teams
and attended a four-day summer institute in June at Princeton University.
The institute was organized by AAC&U with support from the Philanthropic
Initiative and featured seminars, workshops, participatory dialogue
sessions, and consultant meetings aimed at helping the institutions
achieve their diversity transformation goals. The institute helped
campus teams refine a conceptual framework for their specific campus
plans, provided greater familiarity with intellectual debates about
diversity and democracy, and offered concrete practical steps and
resources to assist teams in their work. Edgar Beckham, senior fellow
at AAC&U, served as consultant to each of the institutions during
the institute and will visit each campus in spring 2003.
the institute at Princeton, AAC&U focused on two major goals to
support institutional transformation. The first was to provide each
school with adequate institutional team time to refine goals, strategies,
and planning so that the teams could return to campus even more
prepared to set their plans in action. The second goal was to introduce
participants to a statewide network of resources inherent in each
institution that would be useful to each school and to one another
over the three-year period.
of each of the campus goals follows.
College Bloomfield, New Jersey
Hoping to become a more integrated resource to the larger community,
Bloomfield College has embarked on establishing an Institute for
Cross Cultural Communication that offers seminars and workshops
to faculty, students, and staff with the goal of broadening and
deepening the connections between local and global cultures. The
institute will also offer cross-cultural communications and workshops
and programming off campus as well. This fall, Bloomfield organized
and co-sponsored with the Faculty Development Committee a series
of Teachers Talking to Teachers workshops.
College Paramus, New Jersey
Bergen Community College has begun to develop a Center for the Study
of Intercultural Understanding that builds upon and connects the
disparate diversity initiatives dispersed across the campus. In
May 2002, the center awarded ten mini-grants for the 2002-2003 academic
year for campus projects devoted to fostering intercultural understanding.
Projects awarded include a hip-hop symposium, a literary art reading
series, as well as a minority recruitment program. BCC has established
a Web site for the center’s activities at www.bergen.edu/CSIU/indexcsiu.asp#.
of Morris Morristown, New Jersey
County College of Morris has called upon three newly established
faculty task forces to conduct self-assessments of all campus programs
to determine the extent to which diversity is integrated into the
curriculum. The goal of the college’s teaching/learning initiative
is threefold: to integrate diversity and global awareness education
into every degree program, increase faculty support for and capability
to deliver effective diversity education, and increase interactively
planned community education that promotes diversity and global awareness.
University Princeton, New Jersey
Building upon the past success of the Sustained Dialogues project,
Princeton University is establishing Dialogue@ Princeton, an initiative
which supports current and new projects to ensure honest, ongoing
dialogue on many topics—race, ethnicity, gender, faith, class, and
social justice—among Princeton students, faculty, and staff. The
project recently hired a program coordinator and has focused on
increasing faculty and administrator membership.
Stockton College of New Jersey Pomona, New Jersey
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey seeks to create world
citizens, promote civic responsibility, and foster an environment
that welcomes all individuals to a culture of mutual respect through
faculty development programs and their First Year Initiative. Currently,
they have two faculty development workshops planned. As part of
the First Year Initiative, Stockton has surveyed first year students
on their experiences and attitudes on diversity issues. They plan
to survey the students again at the completion of the semester.
In addition, Stockton has created a Web site for their Bildner activities
Glassboro, New Jersey
Rowan University is designing interdisciplinary team-taught courses
addressing diversity and democracy which will be offered to approximately
half the first-year student population as part of the university’s
First Year Experience, a mandatory program for all first year students.
The Rowan team has planned two faculty development workshops for
January and May for seven faculty teams.
The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, Newark and Camden,
Rutgers University’s focus is on developing curricular and co-curricular
programs that focus on intercultural interaction and linking these
programs so that intercultural issues become central to the undergraduate
experience. Using a two-pronged approach involving faculty development
and curricular transformation, each campus of the Rutgers University
system—Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden—is adopting its own program
to foster intercultural interaction on campus. The campus is currently
selecting Rutgers Intercultural Fellows, a fellows program for faculty
interested in diversifying their courses.
of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark, New Jersey
Hoping to establish cultural competency standards for every person
working or learning at the University of Medicine and Dentistry
of New Jersey (UMDNJ), UMDNJ is developing competency-training for
the curriculum, which will be required of all students. UMDNJ has
been busy hiring a project coordinator for the initiative and planning
facilitator training for faculty.
The outlook for this strategic, comprehensive initiative is both
exciting and encouraging. The range of projects demonstrates that
the campus teams possess a readiness for experimentation and a wealth
of expertise. Over the next few years, The Bildner Foundation will
bring the statewide network together to work and to learn and, hopefully,
to institutionalize diversity into the very fabric of the institutions.
“The strategy to ultimately influence an entire state through
a network of schools with strong diversity programs is a solid
one. It builds on the decade of work by Paula Rothenberg’s
New Jersey Project and can be a model for other states to
Vice President Caryn McTighe Musil.